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Electrical/Lighting/Alarm Having electrical problems? Discussion on everything electrical and lighting systems.

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  #1  
Old 08-11-2008, 05:35 PM
zapper232 zapper232 is offline
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Default Circuit Breaker - Old issue - New perspective

Not to rehash a post that has been brought up a hundred times, but what the heck. I too had the issue where the bike (2000 UC) shuts down totally out of the blue. The 40 amp circuit breaker was replaced as part of the recall with the 50 amp. It still tripped at times. I have seen the posts that say it is this component or that but several posts had me curious.

There was a post that said to wire the breaker in parallel to a fuse and put the circuit breaker in a side compartment away from all the heat. This is scary for two reasons. 1.) Breakers break from either electrical overload or ambient heat. If the HD engineers had protecting the bike from overheating as well as electrical overload, we should not wire around it. 2.) If you wire a 40 amp fuse and a 50 amp breaker in parallel, which has been suggested, you actually have close to or all of a 90 amp circuit. While I am not an electrical engineer, I would discourage wiring a breaker and a fuse in parallel.

Inititally I tended to agree with posts that suggested wiring a fuse in place of the breaker. It works but you lose the ambient heat protection that may be part of the engineered equation?

The post I ultimately followed was one that specifically said the cause of the breaker tripping was bad connectors at the circuit breaker. That sounded more accurate. Bad connectors and pinched wires do not create additional load until they short but they do create heat at the point of the restriction. But if the restriction is downstream from the breaker, the breaker will not sense that heat. So that means the post is right that the bad connector has to be located on the breaker itself. When I replaced the connectors at the breaker, the problem was solved. Okay, let me have it. Thoughts?

Last edited by zapper232; 08-12-2008 at 08:46 AM..
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2008, 07:12 AM
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gs34doc gs34doc is offline
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Sounds to me like you know exactly what is going on. Only thing I would say is heat can and will be created by a bad connection no matter which side of the breaker it is on.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2008, 10:04 PM
zapper232 zapper232 is offline
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GS34doc - agreed on the heat topic. As an update though, I might have to disagree that I knew what was going on. I ran for a week or so and no shut downs. Thought I had it until this past weekend, she went down again. I told the local HD dealer that I would pay for the top electrical guy's time if I could discuss this with him. They arranged for that and my first question essentially resulted in the answer. I asked if the circuit breaker was there at all to protect from overheating, like I have heard time and time again, or was it there for purely for electrical overload. He said electrical only and that it trips because it is poorly located near a heat source. He said the new bikes they have not only moved the breaker but replaced the breaker with a fuse. His recommendation was to go back to the 40AMP, and switch to a fuse, and the problem will be gone.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:43 PM
t8590rh t8590rh is offline
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Default me too

I've been battling this problem since 2004 on my 03 Ultra. At the beginning of this summer, I followed the thread that suggested to soldier the crimp terminals on the wires that connect to the main circuit breaker (creating a better connection). I also replaced the circuit breaker at the time and I didn't see the problem for 3 months. But it just returned yesterday. I have seen the problem go away for 3 months in the past when the circuit breaker was replaced, so it seems that the soldiering did no good. I just gathered the parts to replace the circuit breaker with a fuse before I read this. But I got a 50Amp fuse. So now that I've read this, I'm going to switch to a 40Amp fuse. I am an electrical engineer and I agree with everything in this thread. I'm more confident in the fuse fix now that I read this. Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2008, 01:52 PM
t8590rh t8590rh is offline
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Default by the way

I have taken the circuit breaker apart and all it is made of is a heat-sensitive piece of metal that flexes with temperature, breaking the connection. The heat can come from electrical current, from the ambient environment, or be transferred through the metal connections and connected wires due to a possible loose or poor connection. It wouldn't matter which direction the transferred heat came from.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:50 AM
t8590rh t8590rh is offline
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Default Still confused

There's still one thing bothering me about the fuse fix. If this is a design issue, then why doesn't every motorcycle have the problem? I know plenty of people who own the same motorcycle and have never seen the problem. Sure, there are lots of accounts of it online, but not every motorcycle has the problem. And why did the dealer tell me that they've never had a motorcycle return after having the recall taken care of? Not that I can believe the dealer, but you would think they would see every motorcycle return. So should I believe that there is still a problem with my bike? Is there an intermittent short? Is there a module that pulls too much current when it's hot? Maybe some circuit breakers are more tolerant to temperature than others? But I've replaced mine 5 times and still have the problem, so I doubt it. Maybe it has something to do with the drive cycle? Could it be that nobody drives their bike the same as me? (distance, freeway vs. city, ambient temp, etc.) Even if the fuse fixes the problem, I can't help but believe there may still be a different problem with my bike. Thoughts?
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:12 PM
t8590rh t8590rh is offline
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Default Update

I realize I'm not talking to anyone here, but I know I would have liked to read someone else's account of this, so I'm writing it down. I took my breaker out to change it to a fuse and found one connection slightly corroded and loose. I couldn't believe my eyes because I was the one who made that connection and 3 months ago, it was clean and tight. So I started making some conclusions. I think that this unit is poorly located and is probably right at the max of the tolerances for electrical current and ambient temperature. As long as the connection to the circuit breaker, including the crimp-on terminals, are clean and tight, it probably won't trip the 50 Amp recall replacement breaker. But as soon as there is the slightest resistance in that connection, it's just enough to put it over the edge and trip it. The reason why I seem to see the problem more often is because I rely on my motorcycle and sometimes get caught in the rain. Perhaps the rain has caused that connection to corrode really quickly?
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:55 PM
zapper232 zapper232 is offline
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I just tried to reply to this and lost what I typed so if it goes in twice for some reason, I apologize. This is great dialog on this and I agree with most everything that has been said. Although I have had the recall performed and the new 50AMP breaker still tripped, as did the new one to replace that. I agree with what t8590rh said about the breakers being right at their edge. That is part of the answer to the prior question of why this does not happen on all bikes. I think that it is because the recall and the jump up to the 50amp breaker solved the issues with the majority of our bikes, but even on those bikes that it did help, I believe they are still teetering just under the edge breaking the 50amp breaker with their normal electrical load, ambient heat, bad connectors or whatever. They are just not pushing over. So why are some of us pushing over? Because of things loke t8590rh said. Our situations are all a little different as are our bikes. Some of us carry around fairings and tourpacks and other weight that make the bike work a little harder than the next one. Some don't. Some of us ride two up most of the time. Most of us have aftermarket exhausts which obviously affects running temperatures, since the breaker is right behind the rear cylinder exhaust. Some bikes have the aftermarket heat shields by the seats to redirect heat away from your legs, but to some degree that has to affect things. Some have other add-ons to redirect airflow. That all adds up and if the bikes are nearing the load on the breaker, some of these differentiators will push certain bikes over the edge.

All this aside, I was told by the shop foreman at a Harley dealer that the breaker is not meant to protect the bike from overheating, it only protects for electrical overload. So, put a 40amp or 50 amp fuse in place of the breaker, and the problem will likely be solved. If there is a true short somewhere, rest assured the fuse will burn and your bike will still be protected. At least at this point you will know that you have a legitimate electrical problem versus all the confusion the breaker has led us through. The foreman also told me that the newer bikes have fuses, in a different location.

I changed mine out and the bike has run reliably for weeks in situations I know it would have failed in before. It is sure nice being able to count on this thing now. Feel free to send a personal message if you want to know more info.

Last edited by zapper232; 09-04-2008 at 07:31 PM..
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2008, 02:42 PM
t8590rh t8590rh is offline
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Agreed on everything. I think there was some merit to the thread I read about soldiering the crimp terminals of the wires that connect to the main circuit breaker. It could be that some bikes have a little more resistance in their crimp than others. Just another factor that could make one bike different than the next. Anyway, I'm running a 40Amp maxi fuse and no problems. I don't think I'm going to have anymore problems with this. Thanks for all your help. 4 years, lots of headaches, and I think I finally got this one licked.
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2008, 04:03 AM
pistole pistole is offline
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- replaced the breaker with a fuse on my bike.

- best thing ever.

- electrics are 100% now , everything is brighter, louder and faster.

.
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Old 09-23-2008, 04:03 AM
 
 
 
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40, amp, breaker, breakers, circuit, connect, davidson, electrical, harley, lights, parallel, put, recall, shovelhead, trip


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